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Thursday, 10 November 2016
Page: 2493

Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (14:41): Fifty years ago Harold Holt said the infamous words 'all the way with LBJ'. Clearly, what we are hearing from the government is, 'We've gotta be with Donald T.' It is time for us in this place to have a serious debate about the nature of our relationship with the US. It is clear to many Australians that we can no longer commit to automatically being best friends with the United States of America under a Trump presidency. We cannot today, here in this place, anywhere in this country and in fact anywhere in the world, say that it is business as usual, because it is not business as usual anymore. It was a seismic geopolitical event that we witnessed yesterday afternoon Australian time.

Senator Abetz interjecting

Senator McKIM: I will not take interjections from Senator Abetz, who was gloating on ABC Radio in Tasmania this morning about the election of Trump. Remember: this is a man who was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. Mr Trump was endorsed by the KKK and here he is the President-elect of the United States of America.

We can no longer simply lock-in behind the United States like a sycophantic little brother or sister. In the past, the cost of not questioning our alliance with the United States has been disastrous for this country. There was the Vietnam War, where thousands of young Australians perished; and the Iraq war, where not only many young Australians perished and many young Americans perished but the foundations were set for the rise of extremist cults like Daesh. These interventions, led by the US and blindly followed by Australia, have been disastrous not only for this country but for this world.

Have a look at the foreign policy of the man who the coalition and the Labor Party are lining up behind today. He promised to end Muslim immigration to the US. He wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico and then charge the Mexicans to build it. He reached out to the Putin regime, for goodness sake!

He has threatened a trade war with China. He has promised to commit war crimes, including torture and extra-judicial killings in the Middle East. He wants to undo the deal that froze Iran's nuclear program. He believes that climate change is a conspiracy created by China.

Senator O'Sullivan interjecting

Senator McKIM: So do you? Well, good luck to you. You can stack up over there with Senator Roberts all you like, but it says more about you than it does about the overwhelming majority of scientists in this world. How can we possibly pretend that giving support—blind, sycophantic, unquestioning support—to the US under a Trump presidency is in Australia's best interest?

This motion should be supported because the government needs to act in Australia's best interest. That is the whole point of this debate that we are having today. The government has shown that it is prepared to lurch to the right to try and reabsorb One Nation voters. It has done that on immigration policy—shamefully, in many cases it has had bipartisan support from Labor—that would make Donald Trump proud in its cruelty and with its underpinnings of xenophobia. It wants to undo protections against racial hatred in a fundamental attack on multiculturalism in our country. It wants to make it easier for people to be racists in our country, exactly as Mr Trump does in the United States. Unlike the coalition and unlike the Labor Party, the Greens will not stand silently by while endorsement is given to this dangerous, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic sociopath. (Time expired)